Another Look at Question 2

Following up on my post from Tuesday regarding my call to vote yes on both Questions 1 and 2, a lot of folks are passing around concerns on Question 2, including Cathy Kelleher’s editorial in the Baltimore Sun from Sunday.

Cathy Kelleher and the folks at Election Integrity Maryland do great work, and have been instrumental in exposing issues concerning voting machines, dead voters, and non-citizens being registered. However, I think that some of the concerns raised here are not concerns at all.

  • She uses a “red herring” argument about email voting that is not addressed in the Amendment. While I understand the concern regarding email voting, but that simply just is not allowed right now under Maryland law. Email voting is not at all related to Question 2.
  • Kelleher says “ we also feel the appointment method may prove to be the most effective way to circumvent the documented, prevalent cases of corruption and fraudulent activity among the policymakers themselves.” I’m not entirely sure what her argument here is. How is the appointment method of selecting a replacement “the most effective way to circumvent the documented, prevalent cases of corruption and fraudulent activity” if the appointment method is susceptible to such corrupt and fraudulent activities? That point is just illogical.
  • The piece makes reference to the voter registration rolls having bad or false addresses. I think that Kelleher’s point here is to state that voters who are not eligible to vote would receive mail-in ballots for these special elections. If her point is related to the fact that the ineligible voters would still appear on voter registration lists, that’s again a vulnerability that would exist today and those folks would still have the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot today.
  • Kelleher makes a point about “duplicate voting” (voting an absentee ballot and a provisional ballot) that is, bluntly, an irrelevant point to the issue of mail-in special elections. It’s not possible to vote a provisional ballot at the polls on Election Day in an election held only by mail-in ballots because there just are no polling places to cast a provisional ballot at.
  • Her point regarding absentee ballots that could be lost in the mail is a potential problem now in a world where no-fault absentee voting is possible. This is certainly nothing new as it relates to any fraud that may or may not be occurring, particularly in the nursing facilities, hospitals and retirement centers she singles out where absentee voting among patients is the norm not the exception.
One point that Kelleher does not address will actually decrease the potential for electoral fraud. In a mail-only ballot system, folks would no longer be able to (as is often alleged) go from precinct to precinct casting ballots, because the ballots would only be available.

All of the issues regarding voting that Kelleher brought up are concerns that lots of folks have in elections around the country, not just in Maryland. But these concerns are not problems that are unique to mail-in balloting if that’s where the state winds up; they are problems that are already existent in our current election process.
As I mentioned earlier, Kelleher and the EIM folks do great work. But she’s not correct on this particular issue. I would much rather give voters the opportunity to have their say on who should lead their Counties than I do in elected officials. And that’s why I’m voting for Question 2, and you should too.

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